Thanks for Visiting!

Register for free to get the full story.

Sign Up
Already have a account? Log In

Placer Bytes: McDonald's, Cheesecake Factory and Yum! Brands

Jocelyn Bauer
July 27, 2020
Placer Bytes:  McDonald's, Cheesecake Factory and Yum! Brands

In this Placer Bytes we take a bite out of McDonald’s, dive into the data surrounding Yum! Brands and check in on The Cheesecake Factory.  


One of the top QSR players, McDonald’s had a strong start to 2020.  Monthly traffic for the brand was up year-over-year 7.9% and 13.4% for January and February respectively. But as COVID hit, visits quickly decreased in March and dropped down to a year-over-year decline of 60.0% in April.  

The recovery kicked off quickly for McDonald’s visits in the spring. May visits were down just 45.9% and June saw visits down 39.1% year over year. Although traffic was still down significantly, visits were showing signs of a return.  

More importantly, the brand’s recovery pace was increasing.  Almost every week, McDonald’s showed positive momentum, bringing it ever closer to “normalcy”. Visits for the week of June 29th, which included the July 4th weekend, were down 34.7%.  While still a long way from 2019 numbers, this marked a 5.9% increase in visits compared to the previous week.  And, visits for the week of July 6th were down just 33.0% year over year, the best mark since the crisis kicked off in March.

And McDonald’s is a uniquely interesting case considering it is heavily geared to morning commutes while also having a strong delivery and takeaway system. The wider economic recovery could play a huge role here, bringing commuters back to their routine morning coffee and breakfast sandwich. And with strong delivery mechanisms in place, its short term losses from in-store visits could be heavily mitigated.

Yum! Brands 

Yum! Brands announced earlier this year that it would be shifting efforts to focus on more digital initiatives, and the hope is that this push will help mitigate losses from offline visits at least in the short term. But, even with digital enhancements the brands’s portfolio of restaurants which includes KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut, has been hit hard with in-store traffic declines due to coronavirus.  

But when looking at the pace of recovery for all three brands, we see positive trends emerging. Pizza Hut is on a steady trajectory back to pre-COVID levels, with every week since May 25th bringing the brand ever closer to 2019 levels. Importantly, Pizza Hut may be the least reliant on in-store visits with the bulk of its attention being placed on delivery.

Taco Bell, a consumer favorite, is also bouncing back quite nicely - with visits for the week of July 6th down only 19.5% year over year. This is a huge step forward from visit declines of 34.2% the week of May 25th. 

KFC, which recently inserted itself into the Chicken Wars conversation, is the only brand of the group that seems to be stagnating of late. Visits in May were down 32.0% year over year, a very impressive mark, but by June they were down 34.6% year over year. Looking at weekly visits,  traffic the week of May 25th was down 32.3% year over year and over a month later they were down 32.9% year over year the week of July 6th. 

Much of this stagnation after such a strong resurgence from lower levels in April may stem back to location. California, Texas and Florida are, by far, the states with heaviest distribution of KFC locations, something that becomes more problematic when those three states are also the center of a resurgence in COVID cases. So while the brand did show strength returning to this level, it is possible it will need to see a stronger health recovery before it can recapture 2019 numbers.

The Cheesecake Factory 

The Cheesecake Factory was off to a strong 2020,  with visits for January and February up 3.6% and 11.8% respectively year over year.  And, despite traffic bottoming out at 94.6% down in April, visits for the restaurant have been rapidly increasing. Traffic for June improved to 59.8% down year over year, a massive increase from May when year-over-year visits were down 86.9%.

And, all the more impressive is the pace at which the brand is bouncing back.  Every week since May 25th, outside of the week of June 29th (which included a July 4th weekend), has seen an improvement in year-over-year numbers.  Nonetheless, visits do appear to be plateauing though much of this may relate back to the resurgence of cases in key states.

Will Yum! Brands’s shift toward digital initiatives prove to be beneficial for its portfolio? Can Cheesecake Factory keep up its recovery pace? How will McDonald’s continue to perform with a consumer behavior shift away from breakfast and morning commutes? 

Check in the to find out.

Get 3 brand & industry
breakdowns every week

Subscribe to the newsletter

Great! Prepare your inbox for data-driven insights...
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Get a Demo

Please enter your first name
Please enter your last name
Please provide a valid email
Please enter your email
Please enter company name

Thanks for reaching out!

One of our experts will be in touch soon

Try Free
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Why Are Specialty Grocers Thriving in 2023?
The CAVA Craze: A Location Intelligence Perspective on the Mediterranean Marvel
How Will Primark’s US Expansion Impact Target?
All Eyes on Eyewear
Northwestern U.S. Grocery Dive
Return of the Lunch: Salad Chains Are Thriving
Retail Media Networks – Off the Beaten Track
Bet Your Bottom Dollar: Discount and Dollar Stores Drive Foot Traffic
Ulta & Lululemon: Discretionary Spending On The Up
The Score After Q1: Sporting Goods Chains
Who Uses NYC Airports: Biting Into The Big Apple’s Main Transport Hubs
Off Price: Strength in The Face of Retail Challenges
Visits Improve for Home Improvement
Walmart, Target & Wholesalers in Q1 2023 – The Return of Mission-Driven Shopping?
Department Store Roundup: Q1 2023 Office Index: April 2023 Recap Mall Index, April 2023 – A Rebound on the Horizon?
How Will Bed Bath & Beyond’s Bankruptcy Impact the Retail Space?
Buffet Restaurants: Filling Up on Foot Traffic
Thrift Stores: Vintage Visits Drive New Age in Apparel
The Windy City: A Hub of Post-Pandemic Opportunity
Diving into Dining Traffic - Q1 2023
Bring On The Joe
A Dollar (or more) For Your Thoughts: Five Below and pOpshelf
Dining Out With The Cheesecake Factory
Retail Foot Traffic Recap – March 2023
Digging Into 2023: McDonald’s and Chipotle Update Office Index: March 2023 Recap
How Did Key Retail Categories Perform in Q1 2023?
Northeastern USA Grocery Dive
Movie Theaters Storylines for 2023
Ollie's Bargain Outlet: Discounters are Evolving
Leveraging Brick-and-Mortar Retail in 2023
America’s Evolving Work Patterns: A Deep-Dive into New York and Chicago Mall Index March 2023
Tuning Into Record Stores
Five Franchises To Watch in 2023
What’s Next For Domestic Tourism?
It’s Showtime! Movie Theaters in the Spotlight
5 Limited Time Offers (LTOs) Driving Restaurant Traffic
Department Store Deep-Dive: Belk
Regional Grocery Chains Staying Ahead of the Competition
Five Chains that Rightsized for Success
Unlocking the Potential of Offline Retail Media Networks
Dining Out With Darden
What’s in Store for Self-Storage?
Nike & lululemon Update: Strong Performance Amid Expansion Plans
Many Ways to Win: Midwest Grocery Deep Dive
Retail, Reinvented: The Rise of the Pop-Up Shop
Navigating a New Normal in Business Travel & Commutes Office Index: February 2023 Recap
Retail Categories Staying Strong in Volatile Environment
Ulta Beauty: Poised for Success into 2023 Mall Index February 2023: Reasons for Continued Optimism
Catching Up With DICK’s & Hibbett
The Miami-Dade Arena: An Advertising Slam Dunk
Car Washes Revving Up Visits
Tuesday Morning and Sunrises in Home Furnishing
Dining & Valentine’s Day Recap
2023: The Year of the Discount Store
Aldi’s Success Highlights Growing Demand for Value Groceries
5 Retail & Service Categories Holding onto Pandemic Gains in 2023
Visitor Insights from Super Bowl 2023
2023 First Look: Home Improvement Update
How Are Target, Walmart, and Wholesale Clubs Faring in 2023?
Department Store Deep-Dive: Nordstrom
Off-Price: Taking Off in Uncertain Times
Checking in On Middle-Class Hubs
Who Attends the Super Bowl? Office Index: January 2023 Recap
Focusing On Fitness: Q4 and January Recap Mall Index: January 2023 – Returning Mall Normalcy?
Location Intelligence Insights Into Concert Attendance
Winning Dining Strategies for 2023
In-N-Out Burger: What to Expect as the Brand Moves East
Location Intelligence Breakdown: Coffee Caps-Off 2022
Digitally Native Brands Lean Into Brick & Mortar
Washington, D.C. Population Changes & Migration Trends
A Location Intelligence Perspective on Macy’s Rightsizing
Amazon-Powered Shopping: The Future of Brick-and-Mortar Grocery?
Cold Weather, Hot Visits: Diving into Winter Resorts
Wawa and 7-Eleven: Leaning Into the “Slurpee Effect”
2022 and Beyond: Catching Up With McDonald’s & Chipotle
Let’s Have Some Fun! Going Out Is In’s Q4 2022 Quarterly Index Adds Industry Executives to Leadership Team To Drive Company's Next Phase of Growth
5 Emerging Retail Formats: 2023’s Brick-and-Mortar Evolution
Grocery Update: Zooming in on the Lone Star State
2022 Office Recap: The Year of the TGIF Work Week
What Lies Ahead for Brick-and-Mortar Luxury in 2023 Mall Indexes: December 2022 Recap
Looking Back on 2022’s Holiday Shopping Season
Post-Pandemic Migration Trends in New York
Top Retailers for 2023
The Live Sports Advertising Opportunity
Domestic Migration to the Mountain States: Small Shifts with Big Implications
New Year, New Food: 5 Dining Trends For 2023
This is Why Shop-in-Shops Are Everywhere
Super Saturday 2022 Recap